How to Write a Poem

How to Write a Poem

by Robert Okaji

Learn to curse in three languages. When midday
yawns stack high and your eyelids flutter, fire up

✧ ✦ ✧

the chain saw; there’s always something to dismember.
Make it new. Fear no bridges. Accelerate through

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curves, and look twice before leaping over fires,
much less into them. Read bones, read leaves, read

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the dust on shelves and commit to memory a thousand
discarded lines. Next, torch them. Take more than you

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need, buy books, scratch notes in the dirt and watch
them scatter down nameless alleys at the evening’s first

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gusts. Gather words and courtesies. Guard them carefully.
Play with others, observe birds, insects and neighbors,

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but covet your minutes alone and handle with bare hands
only those snakes you know. Mourn the kindling you create

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and toast each new moon as if it might be the last one
to tug your personal tides. When driving, sing with the radio.

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Always. Turn around instead of right. Deny ambition.
Remember the freckles on your first love’s left breast.

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There are no one-way streets. Appreciate the fragrance
of fresh dog shit while scraping it from the boot’s sole.

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Steal, don’t borrow. Murder your darlings and don’t get
caught. Know nothing, but know it well. Speak softly

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and thank the grocery store clerk for wishing you
a nice day even if she didn’t mean it. Then mow the grass,

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grill vegetables, eat, laugh, wash dishes, talk, bathe,
kiss loved ones, sleep, dream, wake. Do it all again.

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Everyone Sang

Everyone Sang

by Siegfried Sassoon

Everyone suddenly burst out singing;

And I was filled with such delight

As prisoned birds must find in freedom,

Winging wildly across the white

Orchards and dark-green fields; on – on – and out of sight.

 ~ ❇ ✾ ❈ ✾ ❇ ~

Everyone’s voice was suddenly lifted;

And beauty came like the setting sun:

My heart was shaken with tears; and horror

Drifted away … O, but Everyone

Was a bird; and the song was wordless; the singing will never be done.

 ~ ❇ ✾ ❈ ✾ ❇ ~                    April  1919

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Batter Up …

The Next Poem

by Dana Gioia

How much better it seems now
than when it is finally done–
the unforgettable first line,
the cunning way the stanzas run.

 ~ ❇ ✾ ❈ ✾ ❇ ~

The rhymes soft-spoken and suggestive
are barely audible at first,
an appetite not yet acknowledged
like the inkling of a thirst.

 ~ ❇ ✾ ❈ ✾ ❇ ~

While gradually the form appears
as each line is coaxed aloud–
the architecture of a room
seen from the middle of a crowd.

 ~ ❇ ✾ ❈ ✾ ❇ ~

The music that of common speech
but slanted so that each detail
sounds unexpected as a sharp
inserted in a simple scale.

 ~ ❇ ✾ ❈ ✾ ❇ ~

No jumble box of imagery
dumped glumly in the reader’s lap
or elegantly packaged junk
the unsuspecting must unwrap.

 ~ ❇ ✾ ❈ ✾ ❇ ~

But words that could direct a friend
precisely to an unknown place,
those few unshakeable details
that no confusion can erase.

 ~ ❇ ✾ ❈ ✾ ❇ ~

And the real subject left unspoken
but unmistakable to those
who don’t expect a jungle parrot
in the black and white of prose.

 ~ ❇ ✾ ❈ ✾ ❇ ~

How much better it seems now
than when it is finally written.
How hungrily one waits to feel
the bright lure seized, the old hook bitten.

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What Is Hope…………

by Vineet Bansal

What hope means

 ~ ❇ ✾ ❈ ✾ ❇ ~

Hope is bright shining light which keeps darkness at the bay
Hope is gentle cold breeze on a hot summer day

 ~ ❇ ✾ ❈ ✾ ❇ ~

Hope is to remain positive when going gets tough
hope is seeking more when others think u had enough

 ~ ❇ ✾ ❈ ✾ ❇ ~

What hope means

 ~ ❇ ✾ ❈ ✾ ❇ ~

Hope is dreaming of tommorow
Hope is simmering under sorrow

 ~ ❇ ✾ ❈ ✾ ❇ ~

Hope is sparkles when tears in our eyes
Hope is a beautiful thing & beutiful things never dies

 ~ ❇ ✾ ❈ ✾ ❇ ~

What hope means

 ~ ❇ ✾ ❈ ✾ ❇ ~

Hope is as light as a feather
Hope keeps all of us together

 ~ ❇ ✾ ❈ ✾ ❇ ~

Hope is ubiquitous and free of cost
hope is the last thing ever lost…..

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Old Folks Laugh

Old Folks Laugh

by Maya Angelou

They have spent their by
content of simpering,
holding their lips this
and that way, winding
the lines between
their brows. Old folks
allow their bellies to jiggle like slow
tambourines.
The hollers
rise up and spill
over any way they want.
When old folks laugh, they free the world.
They turn slowly, slyly knowing
the best and the worst
of remembering.
Saliva glistens in
the corners of their mouths,
their heads wobble
on brittle necks, but
their laps
are filled with memories.
When old folks laugh, they consider the promise
of dear painless death, and generously
forgive life for happening
to them.

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A New Poet

A New Poet

by Linda Pastan

Finding a new poet
is like finding a new wildflower
out in the woods. You don’t see

 ~ ❇ ✾ ❈ ✾ ❇ ~

its name in the flower books, and
nobody you tell believes
in its odd color or the way

 ~ ❇ ✾ ❈ ✾ ❇ ~

its leaves grow in splayed rows
down the whole length of the page. In fact
the very page smells of spilled

 ~ ❇ ✾ ❈ ✾ ❇ ~

red wine and the mustiness of the sea
on a foggy day – the odor of truth
and of lying.

 ~ ❇ ✾ ❈ ✾ ❇ ~

And the words are so familiar,
so strangely new, words
you almost wrote yourself, if only

 ~ ❇ ✾ ❈ ✾ ❇ ~

in your dreams there had been a pencil
or a pen or even a paintbrush,
if only there had been a flower.

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A Moment Of Happiness

A Moment Of Happiness 

by Mewlana Jalaluddin Rumi

A moment of happiness,
you and I sitting on the verandah,
apparently two, but one in soul, you and I.
We feel the flowing water of life here,
you and I, with the garden’s beauty
and the birds singing.
The stars will be watching us,
and we will show them
what it is to be a thin crescent moon.
You and I unselfed, will be together,
indifferent to idle speculation, you and I.
The parrots of heaven will be cracking sugar
as we laugh together, you and I.
In one form upon this earth,
and in another form in a timeless sweet land.

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